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145-strong support team sets up command centre in Phuket


A multi-disciplinary support team of 145 officers from the Hong Kong Government arrived in Phuket, Thailand, today (December 30) to provide assistance to Hong Kong people affected by the tsunamis.

The support team comprises officers from the Immigration Department, Police Force, Civil Aid Service, Auxiliary Medical Services and medical staff.

Principal Assistant Secretary for Security, Ms Linda So, who is the co-ordinator of the Support Team, said in Phuket that the team's main task was to provide assistance to Hong Kong citizens and arrange for their early return to Hong Kong. "We will also endeavour to help locate those who are missing," she said.

Search and rescue operations are under the purview of the Thai authorities.

Immediately on arriving in Phuket, the support team began setting up a command centre at the Royal Phuket Hotel to oversee the entire operation.

The team is operating three help desks - at Phuket International Airport, Bangkok International Airport and the co-ordination centre in Phuket established by the Thai Government.

The command centre is also operating three hotlines for Hong Kong residents to call for assistance:

Thai local numbers: (66) 9647 1215 and (66) 9647 1208

(If calling from Thailand, dial 096471215 and 096471208);

Hong Kong number: (852) 9038-6578.

Members of the support team have been sent to six major hospitals in Phuket.

Meanwhile, Immigration officers are continuing to assist those Hong Kong residents who have lost their travel documents.

Ends/Thursday, December 30, 2004


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